Cummings Research Park - Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
Cummings Research Park (CRP), located on the Tennessee River in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, is the second largest research park in the United States. The center of economic activity in the southeastern region of the country, CRP leads the nation in the number of fastest growing private companies in the nation.
CRP was founded in 1961 by Milton K. Cummings, Brown Engineering Company president, and his successor Joseph C. Moquin, when the pair sought land for the site of Brown's new headquarters. Cummings and Moquin settled on a tract near Redstone Arsenal, home to key Army and NASA development centers.
In 1962, the two businessmen, along with elite rocket scientist, NASA's Dr. Wernher von Braun, went to the City of Huntsville to propose that the government designate 3,000 acres of land zoned solely for the purposes of creating a high-technology research park district. The city supported the idea, and in 1962, the Huntsville Research Park, as it was initially called, was established. The name was officially changed in 1973 after Cummings died.
As the '60s progressed, the world raced to explore outer space, and many aerospace firms planted roots in Huntsville. CRP quickly became identified as the heart of missile and space research and development. The first rockets to land on the moon were designed at companies located at CRP.
In 1970, the University of Alabama (UAH), esteemed for engineering and science programs such as astrophysics and nanotechnology, built a campus adjacent to CRP. UAH began to work in conjunction with the technology-based corporations as well as government entities such as NASA and the Department of Defense.
Over five decades, the City of Huntsville has continued to acquire and develop property in areas surrounding the original CRP. Today, many financial pundits believe that CRP to be the fourth largest research park in the world. Today, CRP encompasses over 4,000 acres and is still growing. Currently, over 40 highly-specialized technologies, including applied optics, propulsion, and remote sensing, are practiced at the approximately 300 companies doing business within the 175 buildings that make up CRP.
Over 25,000 people work within CRP, primarily drawing from the Huntsville/Madison County employment market of 700,000. The aerospace, biotechnology, defense, engineering, and information technology industries are the predominant employers. The bulk of the CRP workforce is comprised of professional and managerial positions.
Redstone Arsenal-U.S. Army maintains the greatest payroll in the area with over 11,000 workers. Huntsville Hospital System and Huntsville City Schools are the region's second and third largest employers, respectively, making public sector jobs a significant portion of the employment landscape.
Over 20 Fortune 500 companies do business in the Huntsville area. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and SAIC are also among the area's leading employers.
Aerospace is still a key industry in the region with nearly all of the nation's private aerospace corporations represented. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center facilitates a key component of the aerospace activity and provides work for roughly 3,000 people. CRP's first and founding corporation still thrives as Teledyne Brown Engineering, and it ranks in the top 15 of area employers.
Huntsville is fourth largest city in Alabama and the county seat of Madison County. It is located off of Interstate 65, the main north-south highway in Alabama. I-565 connects I-65 to the Huntsville/Madison County area. Research Park Boulevard exits from I-565, and is the main expressway running along CRP and Redstone Arsenal.
Huntsville International Airport (HSV) services the Huntsville/Madison County region. It is located 12 miles from downtown Huntsville. Most Huntsville-area lodging facilities offer free shuttles to HSV.
The Huntsville Shuttle is the local bus system that runs nine routes along 175 miles of downtown streets. It operates during business hours, Monday through Friday. There is an additional shuttle, the UAH Campus Route, that runs on Friday evenings. The UAH connects the University of Alabama campus with commercial entities and tourist attractions.